“Would Paul Sims please contact immigration”. Not the friendliest of welcomes for Anny at Heathrow airport, as she’s taken to one side and quizzed about her reasons for visiting the UK. I kept my natural predilection for sarcasm suppressed as the immigration official asked questions such as “Are you expecting anyone at Heathrow today?” (“No, I just hang around airports hopefully”, I didn’t reply).
Since my answers matched Anny’s (How did I know her, what’s her Chinese name, what’s her situation in China, how long was she here, etc.), they eventually let her in, only an hour later than planned.
Our house became the temporary holiday home for our Chinese guest, privileged as we were to entertain Anny on her first ever trip outside China. Olney lived up to our description – no questions now on why we want to stay here rather than move closer to London (where Bron and I are now both working). A two week trip to the UK which saw Anny explore our small market town of Olney, as well as Cambridge and Oxford (Anny being determined that her daughter should study sufficiently hard to gain entry in the future – either would do), London and Maidenhead for a stroll along the Thames.
Our house now feels a little empty; Anny – you were a perfect guest, and entertaining company as always. Plus, we had an added bonus of having a few home-cooked Chinese meals ready for us upon our return from work. We’re sure you’ll be able to visit us again in the future.